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Rules rule

To reflect on the importance of rules.

by The Revd Trevor Donnelly

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect on the importance of rules.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an OHP and screen or interactive whiteboard.
  • A large dice (you can get foam versions the size of a football).
  • An OHP sheet/graphic for whiteboard with a game of Ludo/Snakes and Ladders or another simple board game on it.
  • Ideally the children will not know that the theme of this assembly is ‘rules’ until after you have played the game – it will lessen the impact if they know what is coming.
  • (Optional) A copy of the Ten Commandments.


  1. Tell the children that you were going to deliver an in-depth Bible study on the book of Leviticus this morning – but you changed your mind and decided to play a game instead! Reveal the Ludo/Snakes and Ladders and explain that you are going to play against all of them, and the rules are slightly different from normal but you’ll tell them what they are as you go.

    Ask volunteers to roll the dice when it is the children’s turn. When it is your turn, make up the rules as you go along, e.g. ‘If I roll a 2, I get an extra go.’ Or ‘When I roll a 5 I’m allowed to move backwards so I can go straight to “home”.’ Or if it’s Snakes and Ladders, ‘I’m allowed to ride up this snake.’

    Ignore their protests and win in the most outrageous manner possible (you have to judge this carefully – don’t keep it going too long or some of the smaller children could get genuinely upset!).
  2. Explain that the game may have been ‘fun for me’, but it wasn’t fair. Rules need to apply to everyone. If I was allowed to steal things I may have fun for a while, but if everyone was allowed to steal nothing would be safe. Rules are there to make things better for everybody.
  3. Ask if the children have heard of the Ten Commandments? Explain that these ancient laws are the basis for the ideas of right and wrong in Jewish, Christian and Muslim thought.

    Do any of the children know what the Ten Commandments are? If appropriate, explain them and fill in any gaps (Exodus 20.3-17).

    If you wish to develop this assembly for older children you could talk about unfair trade rules (see for more information and resources).

Time for reflection


Take a moment to close your eyes and think about the rules that affect you…
School rules, the rules in your family, the laws of the land…

Some rules may annoy you…

Some rules seem unfair…

Some rules are unfair…

But think how most of the rules in our lives protect us and help us to live together.


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.


(Serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr)


‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: April 2006   (Vol.8 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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